Master's programme in Aerospace Engineering
The master’s programme in Aerospace Engineering fosters skilled engineers for work in the international aerospace sector. The job market is, however, not at all limited to that specific sector. Graduates from the programme will gain solid theoretical skills in aerospace modelling, analysis and design, as well as a general ability to approach and solve complex engineering tasks and a habit of working in teams.
Aerospace Engineering at KTH
The master’s programme in Aerospace Engineering offers students a broad, challenging and internationally acknowledged education. It provides skills for aerospace modelling and design, for solving complex engineering tasks, for collaboration with others on projects, and for communicating results and findings in a professional manner. The programme at KTH is highly international with contacts and students from all over the world. The programme director, Christer Fuglesang, is an astronaut and a KTH alumnus.
During the first term, all students take one fundamental mandatory course in each of four tracks: Aeronautics, Space, Lightweight Structures and Systems Engineering. In addition, there is one course that is mandatory for all master’s students at KTH: Theory and Methodology of Science. Towards the end of the first term students choose one of the four available tracks. Each track has a few mandatory courses, but most are elective. A set of recommended courses are also provided, but students chose elective courses based on their own interests and wish to advance. There are also many possibilities to combine courses between the tracks. The first term contains one basic course in each track, which enhances basic skills and offers an introduction to various aspects of aerospace engineering.. The specialisation tracks start the second term of the first year and all offer different mandatory and recommended elective courses.
The final term is spent on a five-month degree project where students get the opportunity to work in depth with a larger problem. The project is performed either in the industry or at a university, in Sweden or abroad. The degree project is presented at a seminar where the conducted work and results are presented and discussed.
The Aeronautics track focuses on modelling, analysis and design of aircraft. Students in the track will learn how to design and estimate the performance of an aircraft, compute its aerodynamic properties, simulate its motion in flight, and analyse how the aerodynamic and structural properties influence stability and control. The track is characterised by a strong interaction between theory and practice. Students will, for example, plan, perform and evaluate wind tunnel tests during their education.
Space technology plays a key role in modern society, enabling telecommunication and navigation services, weather forecasting, Earth observation and much more. The space track focuses on applications related to rocket and satellite technology, with particular emphasis on propulsion, trajectory analysis, spacecraft dynamics and systems perspective. The space environment and its impact on the design and instrumentation of satellites is another central theme in the education. Wider perspective is offered by courses in human spacecraft, space research and space application The space track can conveniently be combined with (parts of) the other tracks in the programme to create an attractive competence profile.
The Lightweight Structures track focuses on analysis and development of lightweight materials and structures for more efficient mechanical solutions and products. Functionality per weight is a simple but highly relevant measure of efficiency since reduced weight can enable improved performance, more cost-effective production and reduce material consumption and environmental impact. The track has the main emphasis on fibre composites, including non-metallic materials and sandwich structures, since such materials are often used in applications with extreme requirements. Students following the track develop knowledge and skills in analysis, design, optimisation, materials, manufacturing and testing of lightweight materials and structures.
Aircrafts, trains and satellites are examples of complex systems that have to be designed with reliable control systems and efficient maintenance plans to be competitive in today's global market. Upon graduation you will be able to develop mathematical models of systems in order to analyse and optimize their performance. Control theory has a crucial role in the design of space missions as well as for robustness and performance of modern aircrafts.
This is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits) given in English. Graduates are awarded the degree of Master of Science. The programme is given mainly at KTH Campus in Stockholm by the School of Engineering Sciences (at KTH).
The employment market for aerospace engineers in Europe is strong and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Airbus is the main European aerospace company, employing about 130,000 people, but a large share of the work is performed at various subcontractors all over Europe and worldwide. Students taking the Aeronautics track are particularly attractive to companies working in aerodynamics and aeronautics.
The space sector is dynamic and evolving, with major projects such as navigation satellite projects and challenging scientific missions. The European space industry employs about 40,000 people. As a space engineer, you can, for example, work with development, testing and the operation of satellites, launchers, sounding rockets or other space systems.
Lightweight design calls for a systems approach to the choice of materials, manufacturing processes and product solutions. Students taking the Lightweight Structures track are thus prepared for a future in the development of new products or applications where more sustainable air transportation likely will be a key societal issue for the coming decades. There is a constant need for skilled structural engineers within aerospace, naval and automotive engineering, as well as in other businesses working with more niched manufacturing or innovative design solutions.
Today, Systems Engineering is increasingly important in areas like the aerospace sector, the automotive industry and communications systems. A systems engineer could work with the design of the control of the damping in an aircraft’s landing gear, how to find the least costly spare parts management system for an air fleet, or in analysing the reliability of a radar system. A systems engineer is attractive to a large number of industries in various fields.
A master’s degree in the aerospace field from KTH is a mark of quality and opens a wide range of career opportunities in industry and research, as well as within areas outside the aerospace sector.
Meet the graduates
Find out what students from the programme think about their time at KTH.
Graduates from KTH have the knowledge and tools to move society in a more sustainable direction, as sustainable development is an integral part of all programmes. The three key sustainable development goals addressed by the master's programme in Aerospace Engineering are:
The aerospace sector has always been driven by high efficiency, low weight and state-of-the-art usage of new materials and technology. There is considerable and continuous developmental work and effort both in small details and at systems level. For commercial aircraft, there has also always been a heavy emphasis on lowering fuel consumption and thereby emissions and CO2 production.
With increased travelling in recent years, the aerospace sector has become the focus of a lot of debates about CO2 emissions and air pollution. A lot of positive progress has been made in fossil-free fuels and initiatives in the direction of electrified flight are being developed. These are interesting times, with most people agreeing that flying as we know it today cannot increase without serious environmental implications. At the same time there are no indications of our flying habits diminishing – or that they are likely to do so in the future. On the contrary, one of the more likely applications for electrified flight is for short distance travels where we do not currently fly. The air-travel business and modern society thus face great challenges for the future, which makes education in aerospace engineering more relevant and interesting than ever. Transition into sustainable flying is key to maintain the current level of mobility in the world, and as an aerospace engineer you can contribute to the task of global development in that direction.
Satellites are crucial for a sustainable world, but millions of non-operational satellites or parts of satellites are orbiting the Earth in the low Earth orbit. Because space debris endangers operational satellites, active space debris removal missions are planned to prevent its uncontrolled growth. Liquid fuels for satellite propulsion have previously been not only extremely toxic but also expensive to handle safely. Now, the Swedish space industry has developed "green" fuels with performance characteristics similar to those of the toxic fuels. Until recently, launch vehicles have mostly been expendable but, after the retirement of the space shuttle, new reusable launch vehicles have been developed by private space companies enabling cheaper access to space. The guidelines and rules on sustainable space activities are being updated to reduce risks and to ensure access to space for future generations.
Faculty and research
The compulsory part of the Aerospace Engineering Programme is entirely taught by senior faculty who are also active as international researchers within their fields. The programme is also broad in the sense that courses are taught by several departments and schools at KTH. In addition to the education in theory, several research labs are also engaged in the teaching of computations, manufacturing, tests and measurements.
KTH is a member of the European aerospace education network PEGASUS . When you graduate from PEGASUS university you can be awarded a PEGASUS certificate to prove that you have completed an education with a well-defined aerospace curriculum.